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Sita is a goddess separated from her beloved Lord and husband Rama. Nina is an animator whose husband moves to India, then dumps her by email. Three hilarious shadow puppets narrate both ancient tragedy and modern comedy in this beautifully animated interpretation of the Indian epic Ramayana. Set to the 1920's jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw, Sita Sings the Blues earns its tagline as "the Greatest Break-Up Story Ever Told."
This movie is part of the collection: Feature Films
Producer: Nina Paley
Audio/Visual: sound, color
Creative Commons license: CC0 1.0 Universal
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|Audio Files||WAVE||Flac||Ogg Vorbis||64Kbps MP3||VBR MP3|
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|Sita_Sings_the_Blues_64kb_mp3.zip||64Kbps MP3 ZIP||37.3 MB|
|Sita_Sings_the_Blues_vbr_mp3.zip||VBR ZIP||91.3 MB|
|Image Files||Thumbnail||Animated GIF|
|Sita_Sings_the_Blues.ffp||Flac FingerPrint||70.0 B|
|Other Files||Archive BitTorrent||Unknown|
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Subject: Art work is amazing
The art is funny and amazing. The way the artist made the animated picture sparkle. Really different.
ok, i know now why, music is partwisely licensed.
Subject: A super great film
An amazingly great and creative film. Very entertaining. Amazing visually and a great clever witty story.
I'm so proud and happy that Nina Paley put this film in the Creative Commons.
I'm giving this on the highest rating. I am not exaggerating, it deserves it.
Subject: Beware of compressed HD version
The compressed HD version (15Gb) of this movie requires the HDV codec, which apparently is not available for Windows. If you are using a Mac and have Final Cut installed, this file may work for you.
Frank Panucci -
Subject: Needs more robots, spaceships, and explosions...
Hm. My review from 2009 is not here. I'll write another.
Producing a full-length animated feature such as SITA, working alone, is a towering accomplishment. It's beautifully put together and genuinely entertaining.
The work is graphically sophisticated, competently animated, and cleverly assembled. It ties together an examination of the ingrained, emotional subjugation of women as expressed through differing, contemporary interpretations of ancient myth, skillfully incorporating and simultaneously honoring Annette Hanshaw's vintage songs of romantic road wear, all built on and woven around Ms. Paley's own loss. Each setting - Paley's story, Sita's adventures, and the retelling of the Ramablamma/whatever by what appear to be shadow puppets - is animated in its own distinct style. The mix works well.
Interested viewers can find on the web the fascinating story behind the production of SITA and the difficulties encountered while navigating the confusing and intimidating minefield of copyright law. The movie is well worth watching (especially for fans of independently-produced experimental animation) and the many articles describing its creation and contentious road to distribution are equally worthy of GOOGLing.
Download this thing. The price is right.
The HD copies look great on a big screen.
Subject: A Gem on IA
Why did I not know of Annette Hanshaw? A present kept until now I suppose.
Nina Paley has done excellent work here. From the storyboard to the graphic concepts to the script.
I love the shadow puppets.
More kudos to Nina for placing her work on the Creative Commons.
Subject: Don't miss this !!
Absolutely BRILLIANT !!
Nina Paley.....you are fantastic !!!!!!!!
Vic Demise -
Subject: Annette Hanshaw, why don't I know this name?
Fantasticic in every respect. Lushly animated, clever, sweet etc...but I can't get over how amazing the songs were, and that I didn't know the name Annette Hanshaw- even vaguely. Well I do now!! I'm a musician and amature animator , and this was the s**t!!!
Subject: A Masterpiece
Should've been up for an Oscar or better. Sticks in your brain.
Subject: Sita Sings the Blues with Great Love
This is an original, personal, compilation of the classic story.
As such, it is, in it's self a great accomplishment.
Loved its originality and presentation.
Highly recommended by me; that is all.
I give it a Super Star 5.
Subject: needs closed captions-
This is a fantastic idea, the only thing it needs is closed captions, or better still, subtitles
Subject: OOoooooohhhh, aaaaahhhhh...!
What a terrific little movie! I sure wasn't expecting it. Saw it featured up in the corner of the site, and just never bothered. Just what I needed this evening.
Subject: Misinterpretation of historical facts
The way Lord Rama has been portrayed in this movie is probably a misinterpretation. (Ref. Griffith) Lord Rama divorced Sita because he was terrorized by the
exploitation by name of so-called 'love'. He knew what happened to his father Lord Dasharatha (and to him as well) for love as he was forced to make irrational commitments by Kaikeyi in return of treatment. Therefore, he decided to avoid such trap during his tenure as King and fully concentrate on ruling the Kingdom. He is still being worshipped, that's not by fluke.
While the character Sita performs its like shes actually Annette Hanshaw. Annette hanshaws recordings from the 1920s are mainly used for the soundtrack which gives sita a kinda of flapper effect.
I had read the Ramayana two year ago so I laugh during the movie:) Especially when the Indian commentator speak...
I heard about "Sita sings the blues" this evening on ABC's "At The Movies", so I pulled it up and watched it. It's the first time I sat locked on to my computer screen, watching and listening to a movie so intentenly. At age 66, I have seen more than my share of romantic comedys, and for some reason, this one got a high thumbs up from me, The creator, writer, director, artist, et al did a fantastic job, Next time net a budget for a DP and artists:)
Subject: Great show
The Ramayana is a classic Vedic story, but is volumes long. This overview animation--with hilarious commentary throughout--is perfectly suited to our modern attention spans and the animation format.
The old blues tunes was a great supplement, espcially with the similarity of story lines/lyrics.
Nina's animation is cute, but shows the shortcomings of doing a one-woman show. Nonetheless, she captures the Vedic gods and illustrations, but with Simpsons-like humor.
I really enjoyed watching this
Subject: A Delight
It reminded my a little, artistically, of the Adventures of Prince Achmed, which is also quite charming. I'm really blown away by the efforts at abstracting out the skeleton of the story and making it cross cultural. My wife teaches the Ramayana in her Ancient History class and to see the story from Sita's point of view is very helpful. Also, I loved the talking heads analyzing and amplifying the storyline. The combination of a modern, minimalist abstraction, together with the blues numbers, the analysis, all of it combined to make the Ramayana more accessible to outsiders.
A lot of times the exotic aspects of another cultures' styles of clothing, music, manner of expression, decorate an unfamiliar story to such an extent that it is difficult to cut through to the essence, the bones. She has done that here in a way that is both effective and funny. I know my wife will use this material in her class. Really wonderful.
Subject: Nina Paley's distribution report for "Sita Sings the Blues"
Creative Commons post on this film:
Five month distribution data and report by Nina Paley:
Coverage on TechDirt:
"The key quote, on how she describes the business model sounds pretty much exactly like what we talk about here:
"The business model -- and I do want to make money -- I very much want to make money, and I chose this because I felt I'd make more money doing this than with a conventional distribution deal. What I'm doing is that I'm not selling the content. The content is free. The content is Sita Sings The Blues. It's digital. It's made of 0s and 1s and 0s and 1s can be copied freely and easily by lots of people.... Containers are not free. And where the money comes from is the containers. And the containers, for example, are DVDs, merchandise, t-shirts, 35 mm film prints, physical screenings. The film is free, but the container of that film is not free. And that's what we're selling...
"The more the content flows freely, the more demand there is for those containers. So I want as many people as possible to share Sita Sings the Blues because that drives up the demand for the containers... That was the theory when we started this, and so far it has proven correct. Yes, I love money.
"So, how much money? Well, she details all the different areas of where the money came from, and it comes out as follows:
* $21,000 in donations (most at the very beginning)
* $25,100 from the store for merchandise (which cost $8,500). So, net: $16,600
* $3,000 from Channel 13 for broadcasting it (even though they didn't have to pay)
"And that's not all. She also talks about a theater that downloaded her film online to show it and then sent her a check for $1,900 (as she said "the dream scenario"), and the fact that her success with the model has created all sorts of paid speaking gigs as well. Oh, and there's other things as well."
Robert B. Livingston -
I enjoyed some of the animated songs. That was about it.
Subject: Simply Fabulous
This has to be by far the best thing I have downloaded from this site, and probably all other sites as well. It works and engages on so very many levels and it should be compulsory viewing for everyone. Thanks for sharing it xx
Murnau y Familia -
Subject: Really Beautiful
The most beautiful animate movie I have seen in years... Really Beautiful!!! Now I understand the Ramayana story. Thanks to you, Nina.
Murnau y Familia (Peru - South America).
Absolutely beautiful animation, music, and a wonderful story. I hope to see more from Nina in the future.
famille ricor�e -
Subject: This was enjoyable
Reminded me of a trey parker/ ian gilliam collaboration and I imagine no riots will be started over it.
Subject: Talk about inspiration
This movie and your story is fascinating! Thanks for sharing :)
Dark Moon -
Subject: Between the lines?
Whenever I view anything creative that tells a story, whether it be literature or a video, I tend to read between the lines in an attempt to get a glimpse of the author. I've seen few videos to encourage that more than 'Sita Sings the Blues'.
In the video, Nina tells the story (presumably her own) of Nina and Dave, two happily married graphic artists. He suddenly (and unilaterally, without discussion) decides to take a job in India, and eventually dumps her without ever telling her why. By the end of the video, we see Nina in possession of a small library of Hindu literature, reading the Ramayana.
Reading between the lines, it would appear that Nina began to investigate Hindu culture in quest of understanding what drew Dave away from her and broke her marriage, and found a parallel to her own story in the Ramayana. In her satiric and highly personalized (as 'onlysekhar' aptly points out) retelling of the classic, Nina makes it clear what the parallel is that she perceives: Men are fickle, faithless, self-righteous misogynists who will victimize and shatter the heart of any woman so foolish as to allow one so far into her heart that she becomes vulnerable. If there could possibly be a greater heel in India than Dave, it would have to be Rama (except that Nina's Rama at least has the grace to cry when Sita leaves the mortal plane).
I don't suppose that we'll ever hear Dave's story. I can't help but wonder how this video may impact his life, as I'm sure it will reach him (if it hasn't done so already) and, more to the point, his associates. The license under which Nina released it certainly won't hurt in terms of speeding it upon its way. Somehow I can't imagine that grief alone accounts for the amount of effort she put into telling her story in so public and appealing a way.
A final note about the animation: Several objects in the video, such as the phonograph on which the celestial Sita plays Annette Hanshaw's recordings, have eyes. These eyes, along with the eyes of all the characters, constantly blink. I found myself totally conscious of my own blink reflex during the entire video, which was annoying and distracting.
And, in the words of Annette Hanshaw, "that's all."
Nina paley is a great artist. Great fusion. Thanks for exposing sexism in the religion while craeting a masterpiece. THE movie of the century and beyond.
Subject: Sita Sings the Blues
I found the artwork beautiful, the music nostalgic and knowing/learning the lesson of being true to oneself above all. I also found it very interesting that christianity doesn't hold the monopoly over other religions when it comes to "contradictions within itself".
Eight Bit Bandit -
Subject: It was great
I really enjoyed that. The animation was wonderful, and the cultural allusions (both traditional and from the Twenties) were beautifully displayed and seamlessly integrated.
Subject: blues of civility
It seems simplistic association of self with role-model personalities and abusing the epics with brazen mockery is the order of the day!!
Subject: disc images subtitles
Thanks for the uploading.
Can you tell me if the disc images have subtitles? I live in Italy.
Thanks in advance.
Subject: I liked the musical sequences...
They remind me of Betty Boop!
Subject: Lovely story with intelligent humour
This is a both beautiful and hilarious rendering of a legendary tale. It manages to makes something new out of it, does it with great style and finesse (this 2D "cut-out" computer animation blends well with classic Indian shadow-puppets).
Irony abound where appropriate, both in the story itself as in the telling of Nina's own auto-biographic (?) side-story. This modern-life sequence is highly entertaining. The choice of using the "boiling" line technique is a great choice. This style plus the cat are obvious borrowings from Canadian animator Richard "the Snit" Condie, aren't they, Nina? ;-) But it's a risk-taking, as some viewers (and reviewers) obviously haven't seen his productions...
Subject: sita sings the blues
This film is just great, it's a clever mix of charming animation, old time music and a modern live action story too.
Everyone will have their favourite sections but for me it was just a joy from start to finish.
I've recommended the film to many others and had a very positive response.
Subject: Missed at Danbury
I missed seeing "Sita" at the CT Film Festival. Actually I got to see a few moments of the beginning and felt terrible I couldn't stay. Thanks for posting it. I loved it.
Subject: loved it!
Amazing work Nina.. Cant wait to see it on the big screen now.. really loved it!
Subject: Thank you Nina!
This movie is one of the most funny and viewtiful pieces of animation i've ever seen, and I have seen quite a lot of them.
As if that wasnt enough, Nina has decided to release it under a permisive CC license, turning into an example to follow by many less skilled and talented artists.
I just would like to show how thankful I am for being able to find, share and download this movie I love.
I am looking forward to the DVD on my favourite store :)
Download, share and watch it, alone or with friends!
PS: Following Nina since her "Lexi the cat" short. It was great to see her again!
Subject: i do like this
huge into goddess worship
Subject: Just a good piece of work
This is a good piece of work. Too cool for school if you will. Clever, witty, and most importantly, a story that needs to be told visually... and it is done so very well with the incoporation of Eastern and Western philospohies.
If you don't watch but one Archive film this year, make it this one.
Subject: interesting, but...
A clever melding of 78 jazz and the Indian sagas.
That is entertaining and for those not acquainted the story is explained most light heartedly by shadow puppets - but in a different cartoon style.
The modern sequence is the major let down. Another cartoon style - wobbly line cartoons are not artistic, just badly done and v. annoying.
Three individual good ideas(or potentially)that don't knit for me
893 Productions -
Subject: 5 *'s
innovative, interesting, entertaining
Subject: This is a classic
Stunning. Funny, sad, beautiful animation and just brilliant. Nina Paley creates a saga about finding closure in a relationship and I suspect makes a personal statement as well. Her decision to distribute this for free adds to the beauty of it.
Subject: very creative
i love it. great animation and style =)
Subject: this. is. fabulous.
It is one of THE BEST animated features I've ever seen, on multiple levels and in multiple dimensions. It is genius. If I were to meet Nina Paley in person, I'd shake her hand, look her eye to eye and thank her for sharing this with us. It is a treasure.
Subject: Beautifully layered, very original
Nina Paley has created a very original story, connecting a 2,000 year-old Indian myth to a 1920s blues singer, and then connecting them both to her highly personal yet timeless struggle with abandonment and unrequited love. The graphics are splendid and her time is nearly flawless. It's amazing that she persuades the audience to care about the fate of a 2,000 mythical character, Sita, the wife of Rama.
Her use of shadow puppets brings levity to a very dark story. The shadow puppets inform us of Indian mythology in an engaging, witty, and current dialog that keeps the story moving along while connecting Nina's personal story of unrequited love to that of Sita and 1920's blues singer Annette Hanshaw.
There are lots of remixes out there today, but this remix of a classic Indian story shows how great and how very original a remix can be. Nina Paley sets the bar high for Free Culture remixes with "Sita Sings the Blues".
Subject: Nina Paley's movie needs the music to be out of copyright jail.
I knew this would be a special movie years ago when Nina Paley first started sharing some of her designs and works from this movie on the web.
I've been downloading clips, images, notes and sharing them with everyone I know so that they would by the DVD when it was eventually out of copyright jail. I wanted to help others see this fantastic animator's work because I felt it was important for several reasons:
Cultural, historical, animation techniques (she started with Macromedia Flash, which was bought by Adobe), business of art (she did the design and animation herself, with help with the sound), and the fantastic Creative Commons licensing schema that Larry Lessig helped develop so artists could have more control over their own works.
And now seeing it all put together I am blown away at how fantastic the whole film is.
Hopefull the music publishers will realize the songs used should have been _completely_ n the public domain so future artist can make transformative works that add to our future culture.
Watch the movie and be amazed. I was.
Subject: even better than I had expected
I've been following this movie for a years now, ever since Nina Paley posted a few of the wonderfully, exuberant musical numbers online. Seeing the entire story assembled is just amazing. It is a fantastic retelling of an ancient tale of Sita and Rama. Like many ancient tales, it can now be read in many ways, and in this charming rendition it retains its full sense of tragedy leavened by whimsy.
This animated telling of the Ramayan borrows from Mughal artistic tradition, Indonesian shadow plays, modern animation techniques and magnificent musical numbers in Ms. Paley's unique style. It respects the traditions, but offers a modern take on the tale. I'm just sort of babbling here. It is absolutely incredible. See for yourself.
thanks for all the excellent-quality uploads.
BTW: how do you get archive.org to allow you to upload multiple videos to one page, and also stop making renderings / streaming? I'm trying to post a few of my own remuxes but it seems to want me to create a new identifier each time.